U.S. Army Veteran Charged With Planning ISIS Attack on Kansas City

Man said it would feel good 'to strike back at the true terrorist'

An Islamic State flag / REUTERS
February 24, 2017

A U.S. Army veteran was recently arrested on charges that he plotted a coordinated terrorist attack on behalf of the Islamic State against civilian targets and military installations in Kansas City.

Federal investigators believe Robert Hester wanted to murder his former military comrades and civilians through a series of bus and train attacks to be carried out on President's Day, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

Hester was arrested following a months-long FBI investigation during which the 25-year-old met with undercover FBI agents who were posing as ISIS operatives and expressed his desire to reap mass casualties in the United States.

Hester, a father of two, served a short stint in the Army beginning in 2012. He faced a series of disciplinary issues and received a general discharged in 2013.

Three years later, Hester had converted to Islam, changed his name, and was posting anti-government messages to social media.

The Army veteran was arrested last week and was charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

In late January, Hester met with one undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS contact who asked the veteran to purchase a series of items that could be used to make bombs, including 9-volt batteries, duct tape, copper wire, and nails. Hester brought the bomb supplies to a later meeting and handed them over to the undercover agent.

Hester's final meeting with the undercover agents was last week, where he brought a box of nails to be used as shrapnel for the bombs. He told agents on Friday that it felt "good to help strike back at the true terrorist."

"First on social media, then during face-to-face meetings with an undercover FBI employee, this defendant repeatedly expressed his intent to engage in acts of violent jihad against the United States," U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tammy Dickinson said in a statement. "He believed he was part of an ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack that would result in the deaths and injuries of many innocent victims."

Authorities have arrested more than 100 people in the United States in connection with ISIS. Hester faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted.

Published under: ISIS , Terrorism